Monday, February 27, 2017

All Children

All children believe in feeding the hungry.

All children believe in taking care of the sick.

All children believe in clothing the poor.

All children believe in providing homes for the homeless.

All children believe in protecting the Earth.

All children want to save the animals. Especially the cute, furry ones. (Okay, maybe not all children want to save all the bugs, but, still...)

All children believe in the concept of sharing (especially when it means that someone else is going to share with them, but they also believe that they should share even when they don't want to).

I guess this means that all children are liberals.

Matthew 18:3 "Truly, I tell you," he said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Friday, February 24, 2017

My Apolitical Life

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you guys out there think I'm "political." As things stand at the moment, I could certainly understand that perception; after all, I've been writing some pretty politically charged posts, lately. However, the idea of me being "political" is one of the most outrageous thoughts anyone could have, which is why I never have that thought.

Probably what killed politics for me -- maybe I should say "who" -- was Thomas Jefferson. Seriously, what an ass.

Oh, yeah, a lot of you, probably most of you, are saying right now, "But he was a great man!"

And I just want to say to that: Not so much.
In fact, he was so much not a great man and so ashamed of himself over how he handled his presidency that he didn't want to be remembered for it. At all.

And you're all saying, "But! But! Declaration of Independence!"

Okay, sure, the man could write, but, really, he did his best work when he wrote the Declaration and it was all downhill from there.

Actually, the Declaration is the root of the problem. See, I believed it. As a kid, I mean. Well, I still do. "All men are created equal." ALL humankind are created equal.

I was a really patriotic kid. It was a thing my teachers would comment on to my mom, even, about how much I knew about the Revolutionary time period and the people involved. Yeah, the Revolution was one of those things I got into sometime after dinosaurs. Dinosaurs at four. Astronomy at five (which started out being related to dinosaurs). The Revolution at six. Because, hey, it was 1976, so I started reading books and books and books -- lots of biographies -- about the Revolutionary War and the founding fathers.

So, we have this document, see, that says "all men are created equal," and we fought a war over it to gain independence from a government that treated us unfairly and, then, after winning that war, we doubled down on slavery because of "politics." And I get it. I mean, I understand why Washington and a few of the others decided that the new nation was too fragile at the time to deal with that issue and felt the need to put it off till later, but... BUT!

Thomas Jefferson, the man who WROTE "all men are created equal" would not defend that. Didn't even believe that. He kept his own children as slaves and refused to free his slaves even on his deathbed, while many, if not most, of the other founding fathers had done at least as much as that, but Jefferson refused. He adamantly refused to free his slaves even upon his death despite the urging of many of closest friends and allies. Basically, Jefferson's life and lifestyle didn't match his rhetoric, and the whole thing really soured "politics" for me. I mean, if you couldn't trust Jefferson... Well, who could you trust, right?

Actually, in high school, I became a great admirer of Alexander Hamilton. Not that that was enough to make me like politics.

It's not really politics that are the problem; it's the politicians.

All of that to say: None of this is about "politics." It's not about Republicans and Democrats. It's not about the Right and the Left. It's not even about Conservatives and Liberals. It's about what's right and what's wrong.

And I don't mean what's right and wrong as defined by some (usually false) sense of Christian moralism. I mean what's right as defined by the ideals we (theoretically) ascribe to by being American (which I will define narrowly as someone who is a citizen of the United States of America), the highest of which is, "All men are created equal."

Honestly, we weren't ready for that idea when Jefferson tossed it out there. Obviously, Jefferson wasn't ready for it, either. But he did toss it out there, and we've been fighting to reach that ideal ever since. Fighting for the innate right that each person should get to choose how to live his or her own life without someone else coming along and saying, "No, you can't do that," for no reason other than that that person doesn't choose to live that way.

Look, the USA is NOT a Christian nation. It never was, and it was never intended to be. If you believe that, then you believe a lie. In fact, the whole idea was that this would very definitively NOT BE a Christian nation. That's how the Constitution was set up: to allow people to live and believe as they want to live and believe. It is the fundamental principle that our nation was founded on.

I find it egregious that people like Trump and Bannon want to eradicate decades worth of work toward actually achieving that goal, not a goal of freedom (though it is that, too) but a goal of equality. I find it even more egregious that "Christians" have embraced their philosophy of hate and discrimination.

So, no, this is not about "politics" for me. It's about standing up for what is right and good. It is right and good that all men and women should be treated as if they were created equally, because that is what we say we believe. To my mind, the ones opposing equality (the racists, the misogynists, xenophobes), they're the ones who are unAmerican. Trump doesn't know or believe in American ideals and he wants to take away and kill the one thing that really has made America great. It's up to those of us whole believe in what "America" stands for to oppose him. It's not about politics.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Clone Wars -- "The Soft War" (Ep. 5.3)

-- Struggles often begin and end with the truth.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

Political statements aside, there are times when the logic used for the story, just to make a point, is a little, shall we say, spotty. That being said, this is a good episode, and this is a good arc. If nothing else, it's a solid background for Saw Gerrera and who he becomes.

And, based on his behavior in this episode, it's possible to see how he ended being who he is in Rogue One, that being a man largely made up of machine parts.

The interesting part of this episode for me, right now, and probably not the real thrust of the episode, but, still, is that not choosing is in itself a choice. So... How about some background?

King Dendup needs to make a choice between the Republic and the Separatists, and he knows he needs to make a decision. The problem is that he really just wants to be left alone and doesn't want to take sides. So... he does nothing. To put it another way, he doesn't go vote. Because he chooses to not vote, the Separatists, because they don't respect other people and how those people choose to live, invade his planet, depose him, and put a pretender on his throne. Because, you see, not choosing is actually a choice and, when enough people don't go vote, it most often happens the greatest of evils prevails.

Separatists, Trump, Hitler. It's all the same thing. At least Dendup had the courage to own up to his mistake and say, "This was my fault."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Acting vs Reacting

I'm not sure that this post is going to have a point. Not the kind of point I would like it to have, at any rate. Mostly, this is just going to be me talking out some thoughts.

It's pretty clear that most people don't like Trump, or, as one of my friends calls him, 45. I kind of like that, but I haven't talked myself into using it, yet. It's true that 45 does have some very staunch supporters, but they are very much the minority, and it's a minority that's getting smaller as the less staunch continue to fall away. He's a horrible person and, as I have said before, in a couple or few years, you're going to have a hard time finding anyone who is willing to admit that they voted for him. It's a good thing we have social media and blogs where people have recorded for all time their ill-conceived support of a horror.

There's a strong movement against Trump. He may have sparked the greatest protest movement against an individual person ever. May have. I don't have the data for that, but that's how it looks. Yeah, I could do the research, but I don't think it's that important. That there is such a protest movement against him is sufficient, whether it's the largest one or not.

And the protests are good. They have an impact. Some. And there has been a lot of follow up and organization to make sure that the pressure stays on, and that is also good. And necessary.

But there's a problem with it:
Right now, everything being done, at least everything being done by the populace in general, is being done on a reactionary basis. One thing I know is that you can't win a war by only reacting to what your enemy (Maybe I should use the word opponent?) is doing. We can't win by only playing defense.

I mean, I get it. Reacting is easy, and 45 gives us SO MUCH to react to.

But I think it's time to figure out proactive actions we can take. Even if it's deciding that we're in a war of attrition like Washington decided during the American Revolution. Make the war too costly for England to maintain it. With Trump... With 45, maybe, that's just constantly expressing our dislike for him, our utter contempt. You know, since being liked is what he wants most.

Of course, what I think would be the maximum strategy is something known in psychology as extinction, which is when you ignore an attention-seeking behavior because, if the person doing it doesn't get the desired attention, he will quit doing that particular behavior. Of course, that's impractical on a gross scale, because it would require the entire nation to pretty much pretend that Trump wasn't in the White House at all. To just ignore him and everyone associated with him.

Man, that sounds pretty awesome!

But that's not a thing that can happen.

And, maybe, we're doing all we can do at the moment by putting constant pressure on congressmen so that they know we don't like them either. The more people who do that, the better. And it is an action.

Like I said, I don't really know where I'm going with this. I suppose it's more of an idea starter than anything else. All I know is that we can't grow complacent, even when things seem to calm down a little. Not that I expect THAT to happen. We just move from one crisis to the next with Tr... 45. From immigration bans to Russian sympathizers and facilitators to... well, it could be anything. And that's the problem.

So! Be prepared for the long haul.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day Five

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

There’s no school today. Not now, anyway.

We were actually on the way to school when there were a bunch of explosions. I couldn’t tell where they were coming from at first, but then smoke clouds rose up in the direction of the air force base. There were sirens almost immediately and that loud air raid siren thing they always use in movies. I didn’t know that was a real thing. I stuck my head out of the window of the car so I could look for airplanes, but Mom yelled at me and started pulling on me and swerved all over the road. She didn’t like it when I yelled at her for trying to kill me.

Mom took me back home even though I didn’t want to go back home. Home is so boring, now, with no internet or TV that I WANTED to go to school! But it turned out that they closed school, anyway. Everyone thought we were under attack.

I think the radio is stupid. I mean the news on the radio is stupid. So, of course, Mom had to listen to the news all morning, not that she wasn’t already doing that, but she was more insistent about it because of the explosions and wouldn’t even let me talk. At all! She just kept shushing me!

But the radio is stupid because they just speculate all the time. It’s dumb! No one knew what had happened at the air force base, and it took a long time for anyone to find out. Hours. So they spent those hours talking about what might have happened. Were we being attacked? Should people go to bomb shelters? Was it the Chinese? If it was the Chinese, how did they get here?

Lots of people went to bomb shelters. The radio said they were all filling up. Mom wanted to go to a bomb shelter, but she wouldn’t go without Dad, and she couldn’t get through to Dad. All of the phones were jammed up with people using them. As it turned out, Dad was in a bomb shelter.

Mom was SO mad even though he didn’t have a choice. Everyone from Dad’s work was sent to the bomb shelter because everyone thought there was an attack. There was no way for him to call Mom about it, but she didn’t care. She was just mad at him and didn’t talk to him all night. Not after telling him that SHE COULD HAVE DIED while he was all safe and stuff and she was never going to wait for him again.

He said “good” and “fine” and, after a little while, once he figured out that she wasn’t going to talk to him anymore, he went off to… I don’t really know. I went to my room and stayed and am still here. Mom is still listening to the radio. I’ve been reading a little bit.

Oh, yeah, I got a book at school yesterday, Slaughterhouse-Five. I wanted Hunger Games, but she didn’t have any copies left, so I wanted Animal Farm, but she didn’t have any of those left, either. Slaughterhouse sounded like a cool title, though, and there wasn’t a lot to choose from, so I picked it.

I don’t understand it, though. I think it might be good, but I can’t figure out what it’s about. It’s the only book I have right now, though, since I couldn’t trade it for something different today. If I can’t figure out what it’s about by tomorrow, I’ll try to get a different book since reading is the only thing to do, right now. IF there’s even school tomorrow.

There will probably be school tomorrow since we weren’t under attack. Maybe. The radio said the base was sabotaged. It said they were going to send out planes to bomb somewhere on some secret mission but, as soon as the planes started getting ready to take off, they all blew up.

It wasn’t just here, either. It happened at bases all over the US. All the planes that were going to go on this secret mission all blew up. Well, not all of them, but a lot of them. Or most of them. Hundreds of them. I don’t know. They don’t give a lot of details on the radio, just a lot of talking about nothing.

And then they had Trump on talking about nothing, too, because he said it was a great attack on the sovereignty of the US by horrible, terrible enemies and terrorists and about all of the brave brave men who had died except they had already said on the radio, at least at our base, that no one had died. The explosions just crippled the planes and made them no good, but the explosions hadn’t killed anyone.

Trump also said they had a glorious success on the mission. It was beautiful. But he didn’t say what the mission was, only that there was a mission and that it was a success.

I don’t believe him.

Dad said it sounded like Yemen and Jalalabad and Mosul, but he wouldn’t tell me what he meant. Probably because Mom was mad at him. Nothing good, though.

So I think there will be school tomorrow, because, so far, everyone is trying to pretend that everything is okay. Everything is normal. But everything is NOT normal. I wish it was normal and that there was still the internet and I wasn’t stuck reading a book I don’t understand.

A Note from the author:
I hope you are enjoying this piece of FREE! serialized fiction. At least so far as it is fiction. For the moment. Who's to say what could be happening a year from now considering where we are at this moment in time.
Speaking of FREE!, because this is FREE!, it would be great, if are enjoying this story, if you could support the author by purchasing one of his other stories. Look, there are links all of the page and many different types of stories available.

It's always great to feel supported.